Mikel Arteta says he’ll do everything he can to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal after the striker again underlined his importance to the club with a match-winning brace against Everton.
Aubameyang, who is out of contract in the summer of 2021, took his goals tally for the season to 19 with two expert finishes either side of the break as the Gunners ran out 3-2 winners to climb up to eighth in the table.
Dominic Calvert Lewin’s early opener set the tone for a thrilling afternoon at the Emirates as the visitors gave as good as they got right until the death. The Gunners bounced back on 27 minutes as Eddie Nketiah converted a brilliant cross by Bukayo Saka before Auba converted a brilliant through ball by David Luiz.
Richarlison bundled home an equaliser for the visitors in first half stoppage time before our club captain headed what turned out to be the winner as the Emirates crowd was still finding its seats after the break.
“He’s our most important player,” Arteta told Sky Sports after the game. “Stats wise there’s no question about the impact that he has on this team.
“So as much as I can and the club can we will try to convince him to stay with us.”
Barcelona have already admitted that Auba is on their radar – they even pondered a bid in January – and it’s expected they and others could return with a bid this summer.
In his post-game press conference, Arteta was quizzed on his main man having many suitors. “They are completely right to want him because he is a superb player,” he said.
“He completely deserves to be liked by other teams but hopefully we can convince him that this is the right place for him and he has a future here.”
Having made it clear that we won’t let valuable assets enter the final year of their contract, our football executive know they have a very short window to get a new deal done. Conversations which started last season have been on hold for some time and it feels like an impasse has been reached.
That said, with the club seemingly on an upward trajectory under Arteta, the Spaniard is hopeful the player can be persuaded to sign a new deal.
“I think it’s been tough for him,” said Arteta when asked about the player’s mindset. “There has been a lot of disappointment in the last few months or years.
“He has big expectations, he wants to play with the biggest club, the bigger tournament and be with the best players in the world. We have to try and to support him and give him everything as a club that he really feels fulfilled, that’s the challenge we have.”
It will certainly be difficult to replace Aubameyang who scored 60 goals in 95 appearances since signing from Borussia Dortmund two years ago.
Arteta was also quick to praise Aubameyang’s defensive contribution, which today saw him regularly tracking back to help out Saka.
“I am so happy with him,” said the boss. “Obviously, because he’s scoring very important goals but also because as a captain, he is giving a great example to everybody else that a player of his calibre is able to work the way that he is working defensively because the demands every three days are big and he is willing and happy to do it. I think he’s playing in regard to this.”
The boss admits he initially had reservations about Aubameyang when he first joined. Those have since been allayed with the Spaniard pleased he’s managed to convince the attacker of the need for him to put in a defensive shift every time he plays.
I had two questions [about Auba’s attitude to defending],” he revealed. “One was whether he wanted to do it, or could he not do it physically? So once I found out that physically he could do it, it was about convincing him to do it and that he can do it every three days. He’s showing that.”